Pink Eared Duck
The Pink Eared Duck is the only living member of the genus Malacorhynchus.
Appearance: – The Pink Eared Duck has a grey-brown crown and rear neck, a whitish face with large dark-brown eye patches, brown eyes with white eye ring, a large spatulate light-grey beak, a brown back, the breast, under-parts, and flanks are whitish with dark-brown barring, a white rump and brownish-black tail with white tip, brown wings with whitish tips on secondaries, and legs and feet are light-grey. This duck gets its name from a small pink patch behind the eye. Both Pink Eared Duck sexes are alike.
Size: – Typical Adult is 15-16 inches.
Food: – Plankton, crustaceans, molluscs, and aquatic insects. They use their large beak for filtering small organisms from algae and plankton.
Habitat: – Shallow flood plains, freshwater and brackish lakes and pools throughout Australia and Tasmania. They are highly mobile and will search for appropriate waters.
Breeding Season: – Varies considerably depending on available waterways and food.
Eggs: – 6 to 8 (creamy-white color).
Notes: – The Pink eared Duck is the only living member of the genus Malacorhynchus. It was formerly thought to be a Perching Duck but may be related to the Shelducks or Stiff-tailed Ducks. It has a large spatula shaped beak but is not related to the Shoveler. In Australia it is sometimes called the Zebra Duck because of the striping on the underparts.
The different types of wild ducks can be grouped into puddle, aka “dabbling” and diving ducks. The dabblers mostly feed in smaller bodies of shallow water or along shorelines, where they are able to tip their bodies forward to reach their food on the bottom. There are divers who feed in deeper water where they dive and pursue their quarry. Some of these birds, the Harlequin Duck for example, actually dives to the bottom of fast-flowing waters and feeds on life forms attached to rocks.